After reading Robert Finlays The Refashioning of Martin Guerre, and rummaging through the texts he presents, made me get the impression that Natalie Davis is stating merely subjective opinions on the case of Martin Guerre. Robert Finlay gives reasons with clear and convincing evidence on how Natalie Davis doesn’t show enough, or at all evidence in the case of Martin Guerre.
First, Finlay makes a well thought out case against Davis in that “Bertrande’s good faith was always assumed” and “never a matter of debate.”1 Also, Finlay say’s before this that “Davis presents no evidence for her contention that [after much discussion] about Bertrande, the judges of Toulouse [agreed to keep her good faith] and not prosecute her for [fraud, bigamy and adultery]”2 This proves my assumption and agreement with Finlay that Davis presents no evidence to “back up” what she says about Bertrande. It is merely Natalie Davis stating and premise.
Finlay adds this to back up what I think and what he also thinks about Davis’s lack of evidence: Davis’s claim to the contrary is not based on newly discovered material or on examination of surviving records. Instead, it depends on her mere assertion that she has recognized a truth that apparently remained hidden from both the villagers of Artigat and the judges of Toulouse3
Finlay is also backing up my case that Natalie Davis is only stating opinion, not fact with sufficient evidence to back up her claim. In The Return of Martin Guerre Davis says “He [Jean de Coras] had gathered information about the Guerre’s marriage before his appearance, and he had days with Bertrande before going to bed with her”4 Also Finlay says that Coras gave “substantial weight” and “seemed to the judge wholly sufficient to explain Bertrande’s falling for the impostors lies.”5 Then Finlay responds with “Davis offers nothing to counter Jean de Coras’s understanding of Bertrande’s innocence other than her own assertion about an inevitable sexual recognition,...
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